Alfred S. Bloomingdale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Canadian football player, see Al Bloomingdale.
Alfred S. Bloomingdale
Alfred Bloomingdale.jpg
Alfred Bloomingdale, 1981
Born Alfred Schiffer Bloomingdale
(1916-04-15)April 15, 1916
New York City, New York
Died August 23, 1982(1982-08-23) (aged 66)
Santa Monica, California
Resting place Holy Cross Cemetery
Nationality United States
Alma mater Brown University
Known for Father of the Credit Card
Spouse(s) Betty Lee Newling (m. 1946-1982; his death)
Children 3
Parent(s) Hiram Bloomingdale
Rosalind Schiffer
Family Lyman G. Bloomingdale (grandfather)

Alfred Schiffer Bloomingdale (April 15, 1916 – August 23, 1982) was an heir to the Bloomingdale's department store fortune, "father of the credit card", and the lover of murdered Hollywood model Vicki Morgan.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Bloomingdale was born into great wealth on April 15, 1916 in New York City. He was the son of Rosalind (née Schiffer) and Hiram Bloomingdale,[2] and the grandson of Lyman G. Bloomingdale, a co-founder of the famous department store Bloomingdales. Bloomingdale attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was a member of the football team as well as Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Upsilon chapter).[citation needed]


To facilitate the need of his wealthy friends who liked to patronize New York city's upscale restaurants following a night at the theater, Bloomingdale launched a credit card business called "Dine and Sign" that meant people on a night out no longer needed to carry large sums of cash. In 1951, he merged his company with Diners Club and joined the rapidly growing business as an executive, becoming chairman of the board of directors in 1964. In 1969, he left Diners Club, acquiring its "International Floatels" division.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1946, he married, secondly, to Betty Lee Newling, a practicing Roman Catholic, movie starlet and daughter of Dr. Russell Lee Newling, an Adelaide, South Australia-born American physician, with a practice in Beverly Hills. Alfred and Betsy Bloomingdale had three children:

  • Geoffrey Bloomingdale (born 1950)
  • Lisa Bloomingdale (born 1951)
  • Robert Bloomingdale (born 1954).[4]

Bloomingdale and his wife Betty were friends and confidantes of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. In 1981, following his election to the U.S. presidency, Reagan appointed Bloomingdale to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board[5] and the following year named him a member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Although born to a Jewish family, Bloomingdale became a Catholic to marry his second wife,[6][7] and later became a member of the Knights of Malta.[8] The Bloomingdales maintained homes in New York, the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles, and an apartment in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.[citation needed]

Vicki Morgan affair[edit]

In 1970, while in Los Angeles, 54-year-old Alfred Bloomingdale began an affair with 18-year-old Vicki Morgan. For 12 years, Bloomingdale kept her in a luxurious apartment, showering her with expensive clothing, jewelry, and cars.[1] When Alfred was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his wife Betsy cut off Morgan's allowance.[1][9] Soon after, the affair with Vicki Morgan made headline news as its unsubstantiated and sordid details, which included allegations of sado-masochistic activities instigated by Bloomingdale, were made public after Morgan filed a multimillion-dollar palimony lawsuit against Bloomingdale's estate. The case against Bloomingdale's estate was quickly dismissed by the courts. Morgan eventually moved into a low-rent condominium in the San Fernando Valley where she rented a room to a schizophrenic named Marvin Pancoast, whom she knew from the withdrawal clinic. In July 1983, Pancoast beat her to death with a baseball bat.[1][9]


Alfred S. Bloomingdale died of throat cancer in 1982 in Santa Monica, California, aged 66. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.


  1. ^ a b c d Poisoned Passions at Investigation Discovery
  2. ^ American Inventors, Entrepreneurs, and Business Visionaries by Charles W. Carey retrieved March 18, 2013
  3. ^ Carey, Charles W., Jr. (2002). American Inventors, Entrepreneurs & Business Visionaries, pp. 30-31. Facts on File, Inc.
  4. ^ "Two Unerdervalued Diors Get Betsy Bloomingdale in Trouble with the Feds in Los Angeles",, September 13, 1976.
  5. ^ Abscher, Kenneth M.; Desch, Michael C.; & Popadiuk, Roman. "The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board", in Johnson, Loch K., ed. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, p. 182. Oxford University Press, Inc.
  6. ^ Colacello, Bob (May 29, 2009). "Ronnie & Nancy". Vanity Fair. 
  7. ^ Kelley, Kitty (1992-01-01). Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography. Pocket Star Books. p. 400. ISBN 9780671646479. 
  8. ^ Knights of Malta,; retrieved November 12, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Dominick Dunne: lost and found" by Mick Brown (October 18, 2008) Telegraph of London